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Bill McGraw

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Communications, 1969

Marketing, Diversey Chemical Corporation

The imagination of Paleontologist, Professor John Utgaard, excited one as his understanding of our earth brought to life literally thousands of years of earth science. English literature Professor William Brown, within the historical halls of Old Main which was for years the fountain of  organic scholarship for numerous students, discussed the literature of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton et al and condensed those historical scholars in a perspective which commanded discussion, opinions and  debates each class session. Professor Sidney Moss, the laconic Hawthorne scholar, who navigated the milieu of American literature with a deft critical eye of our renowned American writers as he challenged the class to expand the boundaries of scholarly criticism. And as a student matures and matriculates through the commanding curriculum that SIU challenges you to embrace, then we have been prepared for our final scholarly push in our major and lo and behold, Professor Howard Long, Dean of Communications, assembled the finest professors to challenge and prepare journalism, advertising and Radio TV students to begin their professional journey into the business world. Professor Don Hileman was the "icing" on the proverbial cake in terms of scholarship, imagination and real life hands on approach to advertising which culminated in research at Budweiser on a field trip and a collaboration on a project in its infancy - the ATM machine- and its role in our future and that research met with applause at the Darcy agency in St. Louis. After graduation one walks proudly out of SIU and the prospects were limitless and SIU had a major hand in preparing me for commencement. I literally made my way to Chicago with all my worldly possessions in my car, and was greeted by open doors to an SIU graduate from the Communications School, because everyone in Chicago, from corporations that included iconic Chicago corporations, i.e. Wrigley, Morton Salt, Standard Rate & Date Service, and numerous others which knew the curriculum at SIU prepared their students for hitting the ground running. I took a position where I hit that ground at a medium sized chemical corporation (Diversey Chemical Corporation) in the loop off of Adams Street and flourished amongst Big 10 graduates and was at the decision making table for over 9 years, leaving as the assistant advertising/marketing manager. I gravitated to a major family corporation, Stockyards Packing Company, on the near west side of the Loop and flourished in marketing, purchasing,  sales,  and sales management and export management being the 1st person outside of the family to participate in being a major sales executive to complement the organization. I spent over 32 years traveling around the US and being part of a team of executives which helped guide the corporation. I retired at 68 years old and look at SIU as my foundation and the aforementioned professors as well as Professor Cohen in Morris Library, he who would have ones undivided attention in his midst and always had a complete picture of the Library as an asset to any scholarly endeavor,  as wonderful sounding board to further one's education. I went to SIU year round (quarter system) and the finest hour in my young life was to walk across the stage at the Arena and shake President Morris' hand.

My experience at SIU gave me a unique insight into the business side of journalism/advertising. Needless to say, I was prepared well by SIU and as I said, I hit the ground running at Diversey Chemical Corporation and was thrown into the marketing milieu and interfaced with marketing, sales, manufacturing and the chemistry behind the product line. From this experience, I had the opportunity to established exhibitions in several parts of the country and was instrumental in establishing marketing and advertising plans for those exhibitions. The journalistic and advertising sequences at SIU were ground zero for every student in the program thanks to the foresight of Dean Long and his outstanding professors who guided us every class of the way. My "internship" experience at the Daily Egyptian(1967-1968 for 3 quarters) where I was a typesetter, copy editor, layout editor under the watchful eye of Mrs. Frazier(and her daughter if I recall who was also a Journalism grad student who went on to a position with a Ft. Lauderdale newspaper) prepared me to step into my position at Diversey Chemical and edit the company monthly organ(which at the time had been dormant for over 2 years), do in-house photography, write, edit, and layout the magazine because of that DE experience and I can now thank the DE for that experience and confidence booster. 

Thanks for your interest and there are numerous students that I saw and read about in the Chicago papers who were similar graduates from my class who went onto careers in management, journalism, advertising and many other management positions in the corporate world because SIU was an incubator for scholarly endeavors throughout our years at SIU. Thanks again, BILL MCGRAW PROUD GRADUATE OF THE CLASS OF 1969!